Immigrating to Canada in 1952 and settling in Vancouver in 1953, Herzog gravitated toward the medium of colour photography to observe everyday life long before this type of practice was recognized as a documentary or artistic style. The works in this exhibition span the years 1952–75, bringing together never-before-seen images from the artist’s archive, a selection of his most notable colour street photographs, as well as early black and white vintage prints.
No other photographer has chronicled Vancouver’s urban life as comprehensively and with such sustained insight as Herzog, and this exhibition will focus on his photographs of Vancouver’s Chinatown and Strathcona neighbourhoods, where he would continue to take pictures for nearly seventy years. Fred Herzog purchased his first camera in Germany at the age of 21, a Kodak Retina 1. Some of Herzog’s earliest photographs in Vancouver were taken with this model, but it had a slow lens speed and did not contain a rangefinder and consequently, he favoured using the Leica C for street photography as it was small and pocketable. Herzog used different lenses while working in low light and crowded locations, all the while producing images that achieve a rare balance of composition and spontaneity. In addition to his photographs, a selection of the artist’s cameras will be on view.